Prior to the mutual agreement that saw now-former NXT superstar Solomon Crowe released from the WWE, the company reportedly had big plans in place for him, according to Daily Wrestling News.
Crowe, who is just 28 years old, asked for and was granted his release from WWE on November 24, 2015, per PWInsider. Since leaving the company, Crowe has returned to the independent circuit and is using his original name of Sami Callihan. He’s also performed for promotions such as Pro Wrestling Guerrilla (PWG), Combat Zone Wrestling (CZW), the now defunct Squared Championship Wrestling (2CW), and All American Wrestling (AAW).
Daily Wrestling News’ report claims that before he left, Crowe was set to become a focal point for NXT as it becomes a touring brand in 2016 and beyond. Crowe signed with the WWE in late May of 2013, per the Wrestling Observer Newsletter (via WrestleView).
Oddly enough, during his two-and-a-half-years within the WWE system, Crowe was used sparingly, at best. His involvement with NXT during most of the first two years was strictly dark matches, up until his NXT television debut on February 18, 2015. Even after his first televised match and appearance, Crowe was barely featured, culminating with his release.
Crowe spoke with Wrestlezone Radio before his match on Squared Championship Wrestling’s final show about his decision to leave WWE.
“I have no hard feelings towards WWE. I don’t. I always wanted to main event WrestleMania, not even main event Wrestlemania, just be a part of WWE. Now I’ve had that chance. I was in developmental for two-and-a-half years and before I got there I had quite a bit of buzz. When I got there, things just were what they were. I got dealt a weird hand. It just didn’t click. It wasn’t my time. I do believe that everything happens for a reason. I decided to ask myself for an early release because I wanted to go out and prove to the world again who I truly am.”
Since leaving WWE, Crowe has shared the ring and competed in matches with some of the top names on the independent circuit. Among those names include “The Product” David Starr, Drew Gulak, Eddie Kingston, and more.
Not only is Crowe able to wrestle every weekend with some of the top names on the independent circuit, his decision to leave WWE also financially motivated. Daily Wrestling News added that Crowe felt he would make more money as an independent wrestler, even if he was being pushed and focused on in NXT.
Additionally, Crowe reportedly felt that he was “probably never getting a shot at the main roster, which is where the real money is.”
Crowe wasn’t the first person to leave the WWE and its NXT brand for greener pastures. A former guest of The Inquisitr, CJ Parker mutually parted ways with WWE after Wrestlemania 31 and he’s currently enjoying a successful stint with New Japan Pro Wrestling (NJPW) as Juice Robinson.
No matter where guys like Parker end up, Crowe articulated his satisfaction with where his current generation of wrestlers are taking the industry during his interview with Wrestlezone Radio.
“All of the guys I knew in NXT. All of the guys on the indies right now. Lucha Underground, Impact… my generation of guys are changing the professional wrestling business for the better. I do feel like we are right on the grasp of the next true professional wrestling boom.”
[Images via WWE]